Besides his Gold Glove for best defensive catcher in the league, Jose Trevino has won the Platinum Glove as best defender in the AL period.
One thing I read that worries me a bit. Justin Verlander apparently was quoted as saying that the Yankees are dinosaurs when it comes to free agency. That they are behind the curve. I guess he means that there are new methods to it and that the Yanks are stuck in the 1977 or 2009 times? I don’t know. But a disturbing read nonetheless.
Jose Trevino and D.J. LeMahieu were named winners of the Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence yesterday. For catcher Trevino, it is his first. For LeMahieu, his fourth, but first in a newly created category for utility men.
Nominated for the award but losing out were Yankee P Jameson Taillon, 1B Anthony Rizzo and LF Andrew Benintendi. Why OF Aaron Judge, an excellent defender as well as slugger, wasn’t nominated, escapes me. Trevino was also up for, but lost out on, the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. That was won by Justin Turner of the Dodgers. A couple of guys with Yankees’ ties were interviewed for, but didn’t get, managerial positions. One was current Yankees’ bench coach Carlos Mendoza, another was former Yankees coach Joe Espada, and another was former Yankees 2B Miguel Cairo. Cairo took over as interim manager for the White Sox when 76-year-old Tony LaRussa’s health failed him and forced him to retire again. Instead, the White Sox went with Pedro Grifol and the Royals have chosen Matt Quataro. These follow Texas’ choice to bring Bruce Bochy out of retirement. The Astros got hammered by the Phillies in Game 3 of the WS last night 7-0. The Phils hit five HR, and before one of them, Bryce Harper, who had homered, was giving advice to Alec Bohm, who then homered. Could Harper have seen something that Astro starter Lance McCullers, Jr. was tipping pitches? McCullers denies doing so of course, but you have to wonder. The Phils took a two-games-to one lead in the Series, and the decisions of both managers regarding their rotations now are a factor. With the rainout, Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson (a former Yankees coach) switched off of Game 3 scheduled starter Noah Syndergaard to Ranger Suarez, keeping Aaron Nola on his regular rest for Game 4. Suarez rewarded the Phils with shutout pitching. Meanwhile, Astros’ manager Dusty Baker kept his rotation the same, starting McCullers, who got rocked, and instead of bringing back Justin Verlander for Game 4, appears to be sticking with Cristian Javier. Javier better come through, because if the Phils win Game 4 to go up three games to one, Philadelphia will REALLY be rocking for Game 5. Of course, Verlander has been surprisingly bad in WS play, going 0-6, 6.07. But you think sooner or later he’d pitch a good one, right? But the choice of whether to switch after the rainout (Thomson did) or not (Baker) could play a huge part as far as the Series is concerned.
Posted in Awards, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Baker, Benintendi, Bochy, Cairo, Espada, Grifol, Harper, Judge, LeMahieu, Mendoza, Rizzo, Taillon, Thomson, Trevino, Turner
Game 3 of the WS was postponed last night and will be played tonight, weather permitting. The series is tied at a game apiece.
So, a few thoughts in the meantime. First off, I won’t post anything regarding free agency until it happens or there is a great certainty that it will happen. Reading all this conjecture about Aaron Judge going to SF, the Dodgers, staying with the Yankees, is all bullshit. When you read predictions about who is going where and for how much each year, what percentage of those predictions is actually accurate? Answer: Not many. So, until something happens, I will do my best not to spread unfounded rumors. Justin Turner of the Dodgers won the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. The Yankees’ nominee was Jose Trevino. A couple of managerial decisions have been made, with the biggest surprise probably being Bruce Bochy (3 WS rings, future HOF) coming out of retirement to manage Texas. The Yanks will be keeping Aaron Boone as manager, and most likely Brain Cashman as GM as well. I think the retention of Cashman (and by retaining him, he’d retain Boone) is tied into the Judge situation. You don’t want a novice GM trying to work out the details of trying to re-sign Judge, whose contract could be not only very expensive, but also very involved and intricate.
Posted in Awards, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, The Front Office, The Owner
Tagged Bochy, Boone, Cashman, Judge, Trevino, Turner
The Yankees played 11 games vs. Houston this year. They won two, both in walk off fashion, and none in Houston. It was apparent Houston had the Yanks’ number. They Yanks hardly led at all in all 11 games. That carried over to the ALCS, in which the Astros swept the Yanks out of, winning Game 4 6-5. I didn’t think the Yanks would beat Houston, although I was hoping. You have to separate your head from your heart. You think with your brain, not with your heart. But I didn’t think they would get swept. Ouch. And what REALLY hurts? Of that 2-9 record (including the ALCS) this year, 4 of the losses were by 1 run, and another 3 by 2 runs. As if losing itself didn’t hurt, that was just twisting the knife. It marked the fifth straight time the Yanks lost in the ALCS since last going to (and winning) the WS in 2009 (2010, 2012, 2017, 2019, 2022). The last three ALCS losses were all to the Astros. There needs to be change, from the top down, within the Yankees’ organization. Otherwise, it’ll be the same old same old next year too. They have to break this pattern in order to advance further. Many are calling for Derek Jeter to be the new GM and Don Mattingly to be his manager. Although I love both Yankees legends, and that would be the popular move, let’s step back and take a look at that. First off, with Jeter as CEO and Mattingly manager of the Marlins, the Marlins didn’t exactly do well, did they? Granted they didn’t have the talent or financial resources the Yankees do, but you didn’t even see year to year gradual improvement, did you? Here are the win totals, not counting 2020 (the 60 game Covid season) under Mattingly. 79-77-63-57-67-69. I would be more interested if they were on a gradual uphill climb, like 60-65-73-77-85 something like that. You didn’t see that. When Donnie managed the talented and much more financially stable Dodgers, he was ok (82-86-92-94-92), but he couldn’t get them in to the WS. His overall winning percentage, Dodgers and Marlins, is under .500. And as for Jeter, do you really think he would take a position (GM) in which he could be fired? Jeter doesn’t want to work for a boss, he wants to BE the boss. CEO or owner. If he was going to come back to the Yankees, it would be as an adviser, not GM. Much like Reggie Jackson was. Oh yeah, guess who Reggie is advising now. Ugh. The Astros. The Astros are now unbeaten (7-0) in the postseason. They will face the Phillies in the WS. The Phils got lucky and hot. As the #6 seed in the NL, they never would have made the playoffs before this year. But with MLB changing the playoff structure, they snuck in and got hot at the right time. Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies’ President of Baseball Operations, is going to the HOF one day. This is the fourth team he has run that is going to the WS. Their manager, Rob Thomson, hitting coach Kevin Long and reliever David Robertson were all part of the last Yankees team to win a WS back in 2009. The game started out good for the Yanks. They scored twice in the bottom of the first. Harrison Bader singled, and with one out, Anthony Rizzo was HBP. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres followed with singles and the Yanks were up 2-0. In the bottom of the second, the Yanks made it 3-0. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IF) led off with a double, and two outs later, Aaron Judge walked. A double by Rizzo plated IKF. But Nestor Cortes, who pitched two scoreless innings, was pitching through a groin injury that caught up to him in the third inning. Two walks and a 3-run HR to start the inning, and Cortes was removed. Wandy Peralta relieved Cortes, and Houston got another run off him. 4-3. The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Bader singled, and with two out, moved to second on a passed ball. Rizzo singled to tie the game at four. Bader, who had an incredible postseason, hit his FIFTH HR of the postseason to put the Yanks up 5-4 in the sixth. But with one out in the seventh, it came undone. Jose Altuve got an infield hit, just beating Yankees’ pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga to first on a bang-bang play. Then came a ball that should have been a DP, but the exchange, Torres to IKF, went awry and everyone was safe. The error was charged to Torres, but I think IKF should have at least caught the ball for a force. Whatever, both at fault. Two consecutive singles, off Loaisiga and then Clay Holmes, followed to tie the game and then to give Houston the lead, which they held on to. The Yanks hit .182 vs. Cleveland in the ALDS. They hit .162 in the ALCS vs. Houston. .173 for the postseason. Aaron Judge, the face of the Yanks, will get criticized (5 for 36, 2 HR, 15 K) but it wasn’t only him (And Judge, although he won’t admit it, was probably gassed from carrying the team the last two months and from the HR chase to 62). Some other numbers: Jose Trevino was 1 for 22 in the postseason. 6 K. Kyle Higashioka 0 for 6, 5 K. So, neither catcher did anything. Oswaldo Cabrera 2 for 28, with 12 K. Benintendi missed. Tough postseason for the rookie. Stanton 6 for 36, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 K. Torres 6 for 34, 10 K. Josh Donaldson 5 for 29, 16 K. No LeMahieu. Matt Carpenter 1 for 12, 9 K. The only bright spots: Bader,10 for 30 with 5 HR. Rizzo 8 for 29, 2 HR. Kiner-Falefa was 5 for 18, but the shaky fielding… Game 4 recap: Bader 3 hits, solo HR Rizzo 2 hits, 2 RBI Torres 2 hits, RBI but critical error Cortes 2+ IP, 3 R, 2 H, 3 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. Peralta 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K. Loaisiga (LOSS) 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Holmes 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. Waiting for changes. Hoping they are MASSIVE Changes, from the top down.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, The Front Office
Tagged Bader, Cabrera, Carpenter, Cortes, Dombrowski, Donaldson, Higashioka, Holmes, Jeter, Judge, Kiner-Falefa, Loaisiga, Mattingly, Peralta, Rizzo, Stanton, Torres, Trevino
One bad pitch and a couple of feet cost the Yanks in a 3-2 loss to Houston last night. The Yanks are now down 0-2 in the best-of-7 ALCS. There are certain things you can blame a manager for, and certain things you can’t. In some games, Aaron Boone’s bullpen management has been questionable, as have his lineups. You can’t blame him for anything last night, though. Last night was just some bad luck. He also can’t swing the bat for some guys who aren’t putting the ball in play. 17 strikeouts in Game 1, 13 more in Game 2. Even some much needed and correct lineup changes didn’t work. The Yankees have played 16 postseason games against Houston, starting in 2015. They have scored 47 runs. Do the math. That is a little less than 3 runs per game. It seems like the Yanks keep losing to Houston 2-0, 4-0, 3-2, 4-2, 4-1, etc. Harrison Bader, with his 4 postseason HR was moved to leadoff. He got a hit, drew a walk. Jose Trevino, 1 for 15, was benched for Kyle Higashioka. But Higashioka went 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts. What can you do when NEITHER catcher hits? Rookie Oswald Peraza started at SS. Peraza played a great defensive game, making a couple great plays, just missing out on a few more, and teaming up with Gleyber Torres for a remarkable DP. It already looks like Peraza will be next year’s starting SS. He looks that smooth. As long as he hits. At the plate last night, Peraza was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, however. With Peraza, it will be interesting to see what the Yanks do with Anthony Volpe. With Josh Donaldson turning 37 and showing signs of age, does someone like Volpe or Oswaldo Cabrera move to 3B? Of course, you have D.J. for 3B but I’m thinking long-term. Boone can’t do anything about the injuries. It is very apparent that the losses of D.J. LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi have hurt the Yanks considerably. Both are contact hitters. Neither strikeout much. 30 strikeouts in two games. Ugh. Put the ball in play. You never know. It might fall in (See Cleveland last series) or someone could make an error—-which is how the Yanks scored their two runs last night. Who would have thought in a postseason game that the Yanks would be forced to start two rookies? Anyway, two things about roster construction for the playoffs. Here is where the Yanks could be held at fault a little. Once again, nothing you can do about injuries. Besides D.J. and Benintendi, the losses of bullpen stalwarts King, Green, Marinaccio and Effross hurt as well (we won’t discuss malcontent Chapman). But you have to go with and put HEALTHY people on the roster. It’s apparent Matt Carpenter isn’t ready. Cheers to him for trying. But he had no minor league rehab games to help him work his way back. He is 0 for 7 in the postseason and all 7 at bats are strikeouts. It is apparent he should not be on the team. But if not him, who? D.J. is hurt (and there was thought about having him on the roster. I think the results would be the same as with Carpenter. The rust and injury would limit him the same way and hurt the team the same way Carpenter is hurting them now). Benintendi is hurt. Hicks, who didn’t contribute much anyway, is hurt. You could have kept Gonzalez on the team for this round, but he wasn’t doing much even though healthy. Secondly, and here is where the Yanks are at fault a little, although bullpen injuries have played a part as far as this year goes. Don’t force guys into situations they are not comfortable with. Bullpen guys are bullpen guys. Starters are starters. Putting a starter in the bullpen for the playoffs usually backfires. There are exceptions, but too often I see it backfire. Montas HR in Game 1. Schmidt, not a closer but a spot starter/middle relief guy, closing. J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen to blow games in 2019 and 2020 (remember the Deivi Garcia as opener game?). Jack McDowell coming out of the bullpen in 1995. Heck, Jeff Weaver in 2003. Learn from history. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. Taking your #5 starter (granted, McDowell was higher than #5) and throwing him into the bullpen for the postseason usually backfires. To the game. How many times this season have we seen the Yankees’ pitchers give up runs when they are ONE STRIKE away from getting out of an inning? Two out, two strikes and Boom. Gives up runs. In the bottom of the third, that is what happened to Luis Severino. I am a little concerned about Severino in the postseason, because in 11 postseason games, Sevy is 1-4, 5.15. Great stuff, but his postseason numbers aren’t too good. He was good last night except for that one pitch, which was with two outs and two strikes and hit for a 3-run HR. The Yanks came back with two runs in the top of the fourth, helped by an error. Aaron Judge singled, and a double error (fielding and throwing) on a ball hit back to Astro’s pitcher Framber Valdez put runners on second and third with no one out. Anthony Rizzo moved the runners up, scoring Judge with a groundout. An infield single by Torres scored Stanton. In the top of the eighth, the Yanks came oh-so-close. Harrison Bader walked with one out. Judge hit a ball deep to right field that was caught at the top of the fence. Three feet or so higher and it would have been a two-run HR that would have given the Yanks a 4-3 lead and possibly a victory. Yankee Stadium is the only park in which it WOULD have been a HR. Houston rarely plays with the roof open. It was open and there was a significant wind that may have held the ball up. The Yanks got unlucky. Only 4 hits. 13 strikeouts. Put the ball in play. Severino (LOSS) 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 W, 6 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. Peralta 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gold Glove nominations came out yesterday, with three nominations for each position plus one for utility players. Five Yankees got nominations: Taillon, Trevino, Rizzo, Benintendi (KC/NYY) and LeMahieu. Lemahieu’s was for the utility category. Two that should have gotten nominations but didn’t were Donaldson and Judge.
Posted in Awards, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Bader, Benintendi, Boone, Higashioka, Judge, LeMahieu, Loaisiga, Peralta, Peraza, Severino, Trevino
Before the ALCS began, a couple of moves. Off the roster are Hicks (injured, done for year), Luetge and Gonzalez. On go Peraza, Montas and Weissert. For those wanting Giancarlo Stanton in the OF and Matt Carpenter DH-ing, they got their wish. But you know the old saying. Be careful what you wish for. Carpenter’s story is a nice one. He fought to come back from a fractured foot. But it is clear he should not be on the roster (although, to be fair, with injuries to Hicks, Benintendi and LeMahieu, who could they put on?). He’s 0 for 6 in the postseason, all strikeouts. He’s 36 years old. He was 0 for 4 last night. All strikeouts. Another 36-year-old, Josh Donaldson, also disappointed, going 0 for 3 last night with a walk in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to Houston. The few chances the Yanks had came down to Donaldson and/or Carpenter needing to come up with a big hit. They didn’t even put the ball in play. I was not a fan of getting Donaldson, who is 37 soon and who earns almost $22MM a season. I didn’t want to let Gio Urshela, who is six years younger than Donaldson, go. Urshela hit .285-13-64 this year, OPS+ 121. He cost $6.55MM. Donaldson showed serious signs of slippage due to age. He hit .222-15-62, OPS+ 94. Donaldson’s defensive metrics seem to have been much better than Urshela’s, though. You’d have to weigh the cost, and the decline of Donaldson’s offense against the better defense he supposedly provided. But the way Donaldson has declined, you have to worry about 2023 and even 2024. He has a $21.75MM deal for 2023 with up to $550K award bonus available. There is a team option of $16MM for 2024 (I can’t see that being picked up) with a $8MM buyout option that may increase to $12MM based on 2023 awards. So, it looks like the Yanks are stuck with him for 2023 and will have to cough up a lot of money via a buyout to be rid of him in 2024. Terrible contract the Yanks took on. Anyway, it’s apparent that Donaldson should not be hitting fifth. Nor should Carpenter be in the lineup. But what are the solutions? Let me get into the game recap and I will try to find one. The same old, same old. For those sick of losing to Tom Brady (45 years old) year after year and want him to go home to his money and supermodel wife (or ex-wife? Marital issues), we feel the same about 39-year-old Justin Verlander, who apparently wants to pitch until he is 45. Take your money and go home to your beautiful supermodel wife. We are tired of losing to you. Ugh. 2006, 2011, 2012 (those years with Tigers), 2017, 2019 and maybe 2022? The Yanks have to find a way to beat this guy. He is 5-1, 2.62 vs. the Yanks in the postseason. Just kidding about the go home already regarding Brady and Verlander, but you get the drift. You get tired of losing to them. Although, truth be told, a lot of people have been tired of losing to the Yankees since 1921. Verlander is a future first ballot Hall-of-Famer. The history on pitchers like that is to get them early or you won’t get them at all. That is what happened last night. Top 1st: Donaldson struck out with 2 men on base to end the inning. Bottom 1st: Judge saves two runs with a diving catch. Top 2nd. Bader homers (again!) to put Yanks up 1-0. I would move the red-hot Bader up to first in the lineup and drop Torres to fifth, which enables me to drop Donaldson down. Bottom 2nd. Taillon is one strike away from getting out of the inning when he gives up a game-tying double. Taillon did all we could ask for. 4 1/3 innings, only one run. He struggled but kept the Yanks in the game. Top 3rd. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, both Donaldson and Carpenter struck out. This was the ballgame right there. They left Verlander off the hook and he then settled in. A big hit by Donaldson in the first or either Donaldson or Carpenter here and you have Verlander on the ropes. Instead, he became unhittable. The Yanks got only 5 hits in the game and struck out 17 times. Once again this postseason, the runs came on homers and the Yanks did not string hits together. Bottom 4. Stanton makes a great play in LF to rob a batter of a double. Bottom 5. Schmidt in for Taillon after a one-out double. An intentional walk and another walk load the bases, but Schmidt gets a DP to get out of it. BUT … Bottom 6. Schmidt gives up 2 HR and Houston goes up 3-1. Bottom 7. Frankie Montas comes in. Montas?! Ugh. And he gives up a HR. 4-1, Houston. Anthony Rizzo homered for the Yanks in the top of the 8th to make it 4-2 but that was it. Jose Trevino looks like he ran out of gas around Labor Day. Great first half, but he hit .177 in September/October and is now 1 for 15 in the postseason. Most losses to the Astros are just like this. Pitching OK but not good enough. Bats silent. We have seen this in the 2015 wild card game (a 3-0 loss), the 2017 ALCS (losses of 2-1, 2-1 and 4-0) and the 2019 ALCS (3-2 in 11 innings, 4-1). Between losing to Verlander and losing to Houston in a close game, same old script. Severino starts for the Yanks tonight in Game 2. It’s time to flip the script. Rizzo solo HR Stanton 2 hits Bader solo HR. Taillon 4 1/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 W, 0 K. Schmidt (LOSS) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up 2 HR. Trivino 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Montas 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. Castro 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. One last thing. Some players have physical gifts, but you question their mental acumen. Those Yankees’ teams of the late 1990’s had players who were not only gifted physically, but also mentally. Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, O’Neill, Tino, etc. You usually didn’t see them do anything mentally wrong or boneheaded. The same can’t be said for some players today. The Yanks need some more players with the mental toughness of those past players. Just saying. San Diego came back from an early 4-0 hole to even up the NLCS at a game apiece with an 8-5 win over the Phillies.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Bader, Carpenter, Castro, Donaldson, Gonzalez, Hicks, Judge, Luetge, Montas, Peraza, Rizzo, Schmidt, Severino, Stanton, Taillon, Trevino, Trivino, Weissert
The Yankees dropped their regular season finale, 4-2 to Texas to finish the season 99-63, 7 games in front of second place Toronto in the AL East. Game 1 of the ALDS is next Tuesday, October 11, at Yankee Stadium against the winner of the Tampa Bay/Cleveland Series. The Yankees were 11-8 vs. Tampa Bay this season, and 5-1 against Cleveland. Aaron Judge did not play in today’s game, getting a well-deserved rest after playing in 55 games in a row, with the last two weeks seeing incredible pressure. He finished second in the AL batting race at .311, five points back, so no Triple Crown, but he ends at .311- 62 (new AL and Yankees record)-131, 16 SB, 111 walks, OPS+ 211 (! that could change by a point or so, but still, !) He led MLB in R, HR, RBI, OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+ and Total bases, and the AL in walks. It’s amazing how many people wanted him to play in a meaningless game today. What if he would have pulled a hamstring running out a double? Or gotten hit by a pitch that broke his wrist? It was smart to have him out of the lineup and save him for the playoffs. People can be so dumb sometimes. The Yanks scored first in the second inning when with one out, Oswald Peraza walked. Jose Trevino singled Peraza to third and one out later, Kyle Higashioka hit an RBI single. Yankees’ starter and losing pitcher Domingo German gave up a HR to Charlie Culberson in the third that just snuck around the LF foul pole. Tie game, 1-1. The Yanks went up 2-1 in the top of the fourth on a HR by Trevino (11). German gave up a HR to Jonah Heim in the bottom of the fourth that tied the game at two, then two runs in the bottom of the fifth that cost him the game. He wasn’t helped by an error from Aaron Hicks or a double that Josh Donaldson probably should have made a play on. Final score 4-2. Trevino 2 hits, solo HR (11) German (L, 2-5) 4 1/3 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.61 Abreu 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.26 Just off IL Castro 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 0 K. 1 WP 4.03 Trivino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.53 (A’s/NYY ERA) Luetge 1 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.67
Eerie. As Yankees’ announcer Michael Kay stated, when the game started, the Yankees’ record matched the number on the back of Aaron Judge’s jersey and the number of HR he had. 99-61. When the game ended, it also matched up. 99 and 62. The 3-2 loss to Texas in the second and night game of a day/night doubleheader was the only damper in a day that saw Judge break the AL and Yankees’ single-season HR record (and to many, me included, set the CLEAN MLB record) and also see Gerrit Cole set a new Yankees’ single-season strikeout record. Both players did it in the same inning, the first. With the division and postseason seeding already wrapped up and known, it may be one of the very few times the result of the game didn’t matter as much as the individual accomplishments, although it would have been nice to top the achievements off with a win. Judge still has an outside chance to win the Triple Crown, but it is a slim one. From MLB.com: Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples of potential outcomes that would result in Judge winning the first Triple Crown in baseball since 2012 and the 13th in AL/NL history: Judge goes 4-for-4 (.315331), (Luis) Arraez (of Twins) goes 1-for-4 (.314545) Judge goes 4-for-4 (.315331), Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747) Judge goes 3-for-4 (.313589), Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747) Judge goes 3-for-3 (.314136), Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747) As you can see, it’s certainly not impossible for Judge to end up on top, but it won’t come easy. Now a couple of questions come into play here. One, will Judge play at all today? After what has been an exhaustive couple of weeks after having hit #60 on September 20, will manager Aaron Boone give Judge today off? Judge appears ready to play judging (pun not intended) from his postgame remarks last night, but if he gets the day off, who is to begrudge him that after all the pressure of the last two weeks? The other consideration is that the Twins probably won’t give Arraez four at bats today, in order to protect his average. Who knows if Arraez even plays today? Given those scenarios, I don’t expect Judge to win the Triple Crown, but what a season. Somewhere, 61 years later in the great beyond, Phil Rizzuto probably screamed “Holy Cow, he did it!” Judge’s HR came on the third (3, Babe Ruth’s number) pitch of the game off of Jesus Tinoco. #99 passed #9 (Roger Maris) to become the all-time AL and Yankees’ single-season HR king. In the bottom of the first, Cole gave up a single and SB, then got a strikeout. That K, #249 of the season, broke Ron Guidry’s mark of 248 set in Guidry’s remarkable 25-3, 1.74 1978 season. Maybe the achievement affected Cole a little, maybe not, but the next batter after that K singled, and Texas had tied the game at one each. Catcher Jose Trevino saved Cole from more damage by throwing the runner out at second attempting a steal. Then after a triple, Trevino picked THAT runner off of third. In the top of the fifth, Giancarlo Stanton homered (31) to put the Yanks up 2-1. But in the bottom of the fifth, Yankees’ 3B Josh Donaldson made an error, and after a strikeout, Cole gave up a 2-run HR to Leody Taveras that put Texas up 3-2, and that turned out to be the final score. Funny but the runner on base (via Donaldson’s error) when Taveras hit the HR was a guy by the same of Sam Huff. When Maris hit his 61st HR in 1961, the NY Giants had an All-Pro linebacker by the same of Sam Huff. What goes around comes around. Today is the last day of the regular season. After today, the Yankees open their postseason with Game 1 of the ALDS on October 11 at Yankee Stadium vs. Tampa Bay or Cleveland. All the seedings are set. The best of 3 wild card has all three games at the field of the higher seed. AL : Tampa Bay (6) vs. Cleveland (3), winner plays Yankees (2) in ALDS Seattle (5) vs. Toronto (4), winner plays Houston (1) in ALDS NL: Philadelphia (6) vs. St. Louis (3), winner plays Atlanta (2) in NLDS San Diego (5) vs. NY Mets (4), winner plays LA Dodgers (1) in NLDS Judge solo HR (62) NEW AL AND YANKEES SINGLE SEASON RECORD Stanton solo HR (31) LeMahieu 2 hits Cole (L, 13-8) 6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 W, 9 K. 3.50 257 K IS NEW YANKEES SINGLE SEASON RECORD Schmidt 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.12
Posted in Awards, Ex-Players, Managers and Coaches, Media, Players, Postseason, Regular Season
Tagged Boone, Cole, Guidry, Judge, Kay, LeMahieu, Maris, Schmidt, Stanton, Trevino, Triple Crown
Before last night, the Yankees had no complete games out of their starters this season.
They do now, thanks to the rain. Nestor Cortes pitched six innings of one-hit shutout baseball, and since the rain ended the game after six innings, he’s credited with a complete game victory. The 2-0 win means the Yankees (94-58) magic number for clinching the AL East title is 2. Since the Yankees now head to Toronto for a three-game series, all the Yanks have to do is to win one of the three games and the AL East crown is theirs. The rain ending the game early also meant that Aaron Judge was robbed of at least one at bat. He was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Yanks. Judge doubled in the first inning, walked in the third, and flied out in the fifth. His 1 for 2, combined with Xander Bogaerts 0 for 2, put Judge back on top for the AL batting lead and the Triple Crown, and barely. Judge is currently hitting .3143, and Bogaerts .3137. The Yanks scored in the fourth when Oswaldo Cabrera led off with a double and stole third. A single by Jose Trevino plated Cabrera. In the sixth, Harrison Bader singled and was forced out by Aaron Hicks. With two out, Hicks came around to score when one-time Yankee Rob Refsnyder had trouble catching a ball between the pouring rain and the lights and was charged with an error. Although it would have been great to have Judge hit #61 and #62 at home, the perfect scenario now would be for him to hit both in the same game at Toronto tonight. Therefore, there could be a ton of celebrating, for Judge would have broken the AL and Yankees’ single season HR record in the same game in which they clinch the division. Also, perfect would be for that little boy who is a huge Judge fan and who was gifted a HR ball by a Toronto fan in a scene that went viral this summer to be there to witness it. Rookie SS Oswald Peraza had 2 hits. Cortes (W, 11-4) 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 5 K. 2.56 Miguel Andujar, DFA’d by the Yankees, was picked up by the Pirates. Yankees’ legend Don Mattingly will not be back as Marlins’ manager next year. No offense to any of the Yankees’ coaches, but here is hoping Donnie comes back home, perhaps as the Yankees’ hitting coach (no offense to the coaches doing that now). It would be great to see #23 wearing his retired Yankees uniform, not have the pressure of managing, and teaching what he (.307 career batting average) did so well.
Posted in Awards, Ex-Players, In-Season Moves, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Regular Season
Tagged Andujar, Cortes, Judge, Mattingly, Peraza, Trevino
The Yankees (92-58) magic number for clinching the AL East and a bye into the ALDS is now 4 after a 5-4 win over Boston coupled with a Toronto loss to Tampa Bay. The Yankees have an 8 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go. It doesn’t seem too long ago we were worried about that lead getting under 3. Aaron Judge was 1 for 4 with a single, so we are still awaiting HR #61. He still leads in batting average, .315 to .314 for Xander Bogaerts and .312 for Luis Arraez so as of now he still leads in all Triple Crown categories. Gerrit Cole got 8 strikeouts to up his season total to 244. He is 4 behind the Yankees’ single season record of 248, set by Ron Guidry in 1978. He should have two starts left and should break that record in one of those starts. Cole, however, still had gopher ball problems last night, which we will get to shortly. Tommy Pham homered off of Cole in the top of the first to give Boston a quick 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Aaron Hicks homered (8) to tie the game. Yankee fans (and baseball fans?) joked it was the wrong Aaron who homered. The Yanks scored three times in the fifth to go up 4-1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) led off with a single, and Marwin Gonzalez walked. Hicks singled IKF home, Gonzalez going to second. Two outs later, Gleyber Torres doubled in both runners. Torres went to third on the play on an error but was stranded. One thing Yankees fans have noticed about Gerrit Cole this year. Besides the high number of gopher balls he has given up, it seems like Cole can’t pitch through a little adversity. If the pregame ceremony goes a little long, it affects him. If there is a rain delay or an error behind him, he immediately gives up a big hit afterward. If an umps ball/strike call goes against him, you know a big hit is coming against him. Last night, in the top of the sixth, a 1-2 pitch with two on was called a ball. Awful call by the ump. The next pitch was immediately hit for a game-tying 3-run HR. I have to question the pitch selection since all the pitches in the at bat were fastballs, and Alex Verdugo finally timed one that was also placed in the wrong spot. But once Cole didn’t get the call, he folded. It just seems like every time something doesn’t go his way, he isn’t pitching through it. Just an observation. Cole did strike out the next hitter to end the inning and knew with his pitch count that he was done for the night, so he let that ump have it with a curse word as he left the mound. He was ejected, as was manager Aaron Boone, who came out to protect his player. Now, yes, Cole had a right to be pissed off, but he needs to pitch through that. Also, yes, umpires are human, and we all make mistakes, but MLB has to hold umpires more accountable for bad calls. There are too many awful calls that umpires get away with (think Angel Hernandez, although he didn’t make that bad call last night). Whatever happened to responsibility and accountability? So, the game was now tied at 4. In the bottom of the eighth, newly acquired (well, not so new, since we had to wait for him to get off the IL after the trade) Harrison Bader was a sparkplug again. With two out, Bader pinch hit for Oswaldo Cabrera and walked. He stole second and went to third on an error, then scored when Jose Trevino singled. This held up as the deciding run in the 5-4 Yankees win. Torres 2 RBI HIcks 2 hits, 2 RBI Solo HR (8) Cole 6 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 W, 8 K. Gave up 2 HR 3.49 4 K behind Guidry’s record of 248 in 1978. Marinaccio 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.20 Loaisiga (W, 2-3) 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.43 Non-Yankee related but what a feat. Albert Pujols, retiring after the season, hit 2 HR for St. Louis against the Dodgers in LA last night. The second was HR #700 of his career, joining Barry Bonds*, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth as the only players to hit 700 HR in their careers. Pujols joins Aaron as the only player with 3000 or more hits AND 700 or more HR in their career. Congrats! One other note. Tampa Bay, Toronto and Seattle are neck and neck and neck for the 4-5-6 seedings in the AL playoff race. Just so you know, Tampa Bay wins all tiebreakers. Seattle has the tiebreaker over Toronto. Toronto loses all tiebreakers. Based on head-to-head record.
Posted in Awards, Ex-Players, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, Regular Season
Tagged Aaron, Bader, bonds, Boone, Cole, Guidry, Hicks, Judge, Loaisiga, Marinaccio, Pujols, Ruth, Torres, Trevino